|Cal Poly Pomona's Hervey Malone, Ron Strange and Michael Ridgway race downcourt during the Elite Eight contest Wednesday, March 26, in Jenkins Arena. The West Region champions fell to Kentucky Wesleyan, 85-60.|
LAKELAND, FLA. ? The amazing run by the Cal Poly Pomona men?s basketball program came to an end Wednesday, March 26, in the Elite Eight.
The Broncos, making their first appearance in a national quarterfinal game since 1964, ran into a Kentucky Wesleyan juggernaut and dropped an 85-60 decision in Jenkins Arena. Cal Poly Pomona (23-8), the West Region champions, suffered through a cold-shooting first half and never recovered. Kentucky Wesleyan, which has won eight Division II championships and advanced to the NCAA Division II title game five straight times, led from start to finish and advanced to face Bowie State in a national semifinal game on Thursday.
Cal Poly Pomona concludes one of the most successful seasons in the program?s history. The Broncos? 23 wins ties the program record set by the 1963-64 squad and the three playoff wins Cal Poly Pomona recorded while winning the West Regional crown is a new record.
Jeff Bonds (So., Compton, Mayfair HS) followed up his tremendous showing in the West Regional with another outstanding postseason game. He led the Broncos with 19.5 points and six rebounds and finished the postseason with a 19.8 points per game scoring average. Bonds was the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional and a first-team All-CCAA selection this season.
Michael Ridgway (Jr., Houston, TX, Lamar University), starting in place of the injured David Sybesma (Jr., Corona, Corona Centennial HS) also had a solid game, pouring in 12 points. Hervey Malone II (Fr., Pittsburg, Pittsburg HS) had 10 points and six rebounds in a strong effort and Jonathan Boyd (Fr., Fontana, Etiwanda HS) had eight points and two assists in a good game off the bench.
The Broncos were stung by some bad news before the tournament even started. Sybesma, the team?s second-leading scorer and rebounder, was sidelined Wednesday because of a foot infection that caused severe swelling in his right big toe. Sybesma had started all previous 30 Bronco games this season and his absence was obviously felt. Sybesma had averaged 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the postseason.
Ron Strange (Sr., Alta Loma, Angelo State) also played well, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds and contributing two points in 17 minutes.
Kentucky Wesleyan (30-3) was simply too good on this day. The Panthers recorded a 30th win for the sixth consecutive year. The Panthers were firing on all cylinders on offense and their defense was suffocating in the first half. Marlon Palmer, a Division I transfer from New Mexico, had 20 points and nine assists to lead the way. Thad Key and Eugene Dabney, a Division I transfer from Rutgers, had 14 points and eight rebounds. Huggy Dye, another Division I transfer, had 13 points and five rebounds.
“Our kids competed hard, but Kentucky Wesleyan was awfully good today,” Cal Poly Pomona head coach Greg Kamansky said. ?We got away from our offense a little bit in the first half and shot way too many threes. This was a good experience for our guys and they learned a lot from reaching the Elite Eight about what it takes to compete at this level.?
The Broncos shot just 25.9 percent in the first half, making only seven of 27 field-goal attempts. The Broncos also missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts. Cal Poly Pomona trailed by as many as 27 points in the first half and was down, 43-21, at halftime. Kentucky Wesleyan, on the other hand, shot 56 percent in the first half.
Jonathan Williams (Jr., Pasadena, John Muir HS) scored on a driving layup to start the second half and slice the deficit to 20 points, 43-23, but the Panthers responded with a 11-0 run over the next four minutes and took a 54-23 lead with 15:33 to go.
The Broncos had some positive developments in the second half, most notably on the offensive end. Malone had an excellent second half and scored all 10 of his points in the final 20 minutes, includinga pair of 3-pointers. Boyd also hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half and Tyrone Marshall (Fr., Rialto, Eisenhower HS) hit a late jumper for the final points of the game for Cal Poly Pomona.
Cal Poly Pomona owned a 34-32 edge on the boards, but also had 18 turnovers to just 12 for Kentucky Wesleyan.
The Broncos will lose seniors Steve Lambert, Yousof Etemadi, Andy Bratt and Strange, but the rest of the squad returns next season.
Cal Poly Pomona will return home on Thursday, leaving Tampa Bay on Southwest Flight 995. The team will have a stopover in New Orleans and take Southwest Flight 1696 that is due to arrive at Ontario Airport at 5:15 p.m. (PST).
For the latest updates on all Bronco athletic teams and events, visit www.cpp.edu/~athletic or call (909) 869-2812.
KENTUCKY WESLEYAN 85, CAL POLY POMONA 60
KENTUCKY WESLEYAN (85) — Rogers 0-3 0-0 0, Key 7-11 0-0 14, Dabney 6-7 2-3 14, Parmer 7-11 2-3 20, Dye 6-12 0-0 13, Garris 2-2 2-4 6, West 0-1 1-2 1, Zuerner 1-4 0-0 3, Lodzik 0-0 0-0 0, Enos 0-1 0-0 0, Foster 1-1 0-0 2, Ferguson 2-3 1-2 7, Freeman 0-1 5-6 5, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 32-57 13-20 85.
CAL POLY POMONA (60) – Beahm 0-3 1-2 1, Bonds 6-11 7-8 19, Ridgway 5-9 2-4 12, Williams 2-10 2-2 6, Malone 3-9 2-2 10, Etemadi 0-1 0-0 0, Marshall 1-1 0-0 2, Peterson 0-2 0-0 0, Boyd 3-6 0-0 8, Sybesma 0-0 0-0 0, Strange 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 21-57 14-18 60.
Halftime: KWC 43, CPP 21. Three-Point Field Goals: KWC 8-24 (Rogers 0-2, Parmer 4-6, Dye 1-6, West 0-1, Zuerner 1-4, Enos 0-1, Ferguson 2-3, Freeman 0-1), CPP 4-23 (Beahm 0-1, Bonds 0-2, Ridgway 0-1, Williams 0-6, Malone 2-5, Etemadi 0-1, Peterson 0-1, Boyd 2-5, Strange 0-1). Rebounds: KWC 33 (Dabney 8), CPP 34 (Strange 7). Assists: KWC 17 (Parmer 9), CPP 9 (Williams 3). Fouls: KWC 16, CPP 16. Fouled Out: none. Technical Fouls: none.